E3 '07: Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway Updated Impressions

UPDATE: We look at the new risk-indicator feature in Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway, as well as check out some brand new locations in the game.

UPDATE: It was only a few weeks ago when when we saw the latest in the Brothers In Arms series--Hell's Highway--but developer Gearbox Software seems to have already made some gameplay additions to the action strategy title.

The level being demonstrated by publisher Ubisoft at E3 07 is the same as the one we covered in our extensive May preview--a sample mission in Zon, Holland, where your small team of troopers have to clear German soldiers out of a picturesque town. But while the level was the same, Gearbox head Randy Pitchford did showcase a brand-new feature--a risk indicator that visually shows a player how great the chances are of being hit by enemy fire.

Pitchford demonstrated the risk indicator in a firefight with some German infantry hiding in a vegetable garden. While ducking behind a low, stone hedge, Pitchford's character could see the Germans hiding behind another hedge several meters away. Pitchford then made his character stand, exposing him to enemy fire. The screen then slowly started to blur, before eventually turning a deep shade of red, indicating a hit from a German bullet wasn't far away.

But while most of the screen was red, the hedge area Pitchford's character was standing behind stayed crystal clear--Pitchford said this was yet another visual indicator built into Hell's Highway for players to more easily identify where safe areas were in an open firefight.

The Zon mission was the only playable demo, but Pitchford did give us a sneak peek into some of the game's later levels to demonstrate the varied environments gamers will encounter in Hell's Highway. Pitchford said players will find themselves fighting in towns, cities, large open fields, and on Hell's Highway itself during the course of the game, but within that there would be new types of locations never seen before in a Brothers in Arms game which will give Hell's Highway its own visual signature.

One new level shown was an exact recreation of the Dutch city of Eindhoven as it was immediately after the German Luftwaffe bombed it in 1944 in retaliation to the Allies' retaking of the city. This level takes place at night, and featured the shattered husks of buildings, many of them still on fire from the recent bombing. German soldiers were roaming in the ruins, taking cover behind destroyed walls and on different storeys of abandoned buildings. The entire scene looked appropriately apocalyptic--everywhere you looked, houses were half demolished, debris was piled, and entire walls were collapsed, exposing the interior of buildings. Pitchford said the team at Gearbox based the Eindhoven in the game on the actual layout of the city as it was in 1944, using old maps and images from British spy planes taken before and after the bombing.

As well as outdoor areas, Hell's Highway will also feature several indoor levels, which will take up roughly 10 to 15 percent of the game's locations. Another level shown to us by Pitchford was inside an abandoned hospital at night--the interiors were dark for the most past, with the few lit areas done in eerie tones of greens and blues. Debris was strewn everywhere, with hospital trolleys and cabinets used as make-shift barriers in some hallways. The detail Gearbox has put into this environment was quite impressive--the paint on the walls were cracked and peeling, and the carpet and tiles on the floor were in a disheveled state. Again, Gearbox used the actual plans and layout of the real hospital for their game recreation, as Pitchford happily proved by showing us actual photographs of the location as it was in the late 1930s.

Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway is set for release on the Xbox 360, PC and PS3 before the end of 2007. Click here for our full preview.

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RandolphRam

Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

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46 comments
XLongXShotXX
XLongXShotXX

OMG I WANT BAD!!!!!!!!!! I dont understand the concept tho because is it like a call of duty or like a scrwed up rpg??? :P

Solid_Devil
Solid_Devil

I have never played the other Brother in Arms games but this one looks to be really good.

Rx_Nightmare
Rx_Nightmare

Well since theyre delaying this game till fiscal 2009 (2008-2009) they might as well add some new features in it..such as: cover creation (buiilding sandbag bunkers, tipping over tables, knocking over large statues), calling in air strikes/reinforcements, vehicle use, grenade throwback, blindfiring, etc.

ShaunFroggatt
ShaunFroggatt

British fights were boring? It was a joint effort many countrys spilled blood for the cause you ignorant piece of yankie trash so show some respect.

Chobitts2212
Chobitts2212

i agree with killasamurai, if you were playing in a british version of this game youd be sitting in a trench sippin tea while the nazis come out guns blazing. id rather have an american vs. nazi battle over a british vs. nazi batlle anytime.

HESSLER1960
HESSLER1960

I've had this thing reserved for months !!! Why haven't they made Earned In Blood and Hill 30 compatible w/ the 360 yet ?

horsleyboy
horsleyboy

I agree with most of you; I hope I can turn the risk indicator off. I loved the other BiA games. Hill30 was the best.

roan23
roan23

Come On Release The Game Already, CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!

saigondude63
saigondude63

ww2 rocks man i hope they keep making them till the last game system they make!!!! ROCK ON !!!!!!

Autobon
Autobon

to many modern games. COD4 is good because of the nice graphics. Glad to see more WWII games. love it.

Urmanok
Urmanok

COD4 did the rite thing to make it modern, ww2 games are just getting old now.

KillaSamurai
KillaSamurai

Reeve92, game developers use americans and germans becouse they had the most intence, battles, most of the fighting that british did was mostly quite boring and woulden't make a good game\movie, unless thay made battles up. i wouldn't mind a game with people other than U.S and Germans but it would have to be fictionus (sorry for bad spelling :D)

Iron_will
Iron_will

well apparently i can wait (like everyone says)

kittykiller897
kittykiller897

This looks good to me. a modern brothers in arms might be nice. darkiceman I think the risk indicator is more of a way to get rid of health systems. in one of the vids they say tht bullets are fatal. If im wrong please tell me. I cant wait for this game.

kittykiller897
kittykiller897

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

kittykiller897
kittykiller897

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DarkIceman2003
DarkIceman2003

In my opinon, the Risk Indicator is a little distracting. I hope you're able to turn it off in the game like you can with the Suppression Indicators. I just think it's a bit more fun when you have to find your own cover and use your own judgment when to get back down after firing in a firefight. Then again, that's just me. I'm lookig foward to this game.

reeve92
reeve92

pretty much boring ww2 is dieing out its getting crappy as its always about america there aint no real full games on other countrys yer cod splits it but its not enough i want there to be full brit game from the beginning or one were you are fighting with the nazis and the end achievement is lost the war

pidow
pidow

I'm going to love playing this one!.

icytower
icytower

Yawn factor is through the roof for myself.

Mom_said_no
Mom_said_no

Yeah I’ve heard this a lot already, and the Thompson does sound weak. I have been to a firing range and seen a Thompson being fired and it does sort of sound like that. But it has a lower pop to it, not a high pitch sound like the one in the game. It sound good in the last two games… why change it. Either way I wont let something like that keep me from the game. Everything else looks amazing, especially the sound of explosions from grenades and bazooka rounds. Don’t believe me, check this out. http://youtube.com/watch?v=1KezKQ88JUg

fullmetalbullet
fullmetalbullet

How can you say the health indicator won't be good when you haven't even tried it yet? And the Thompson will probably sound fine. Remember that you're listening to it on low volume while streaming, it will sound better while you're actually playing it.

rockdawg
rockdawg

Hmmm...wouldn't it be more interesting to figure out on your own where the safe places are? The risk indicator makes it sound like it's going to be handed to you on a plate.

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

I saw this on the live show, I am very very excited about this game

BulletProof007
BulletProof007

I saw the dev interview and I like the way the guy thinks. This game will be a must buy.

cubeman
cubeman

I can't wait for this game, its one of my most anticipated titles to come out this year. The others were great and this one looks even better.

jesus_knight
jesus_knight

jakeboudville were you invited to the e3?

wemhim
wemhim

I'd rather they just make it like the others where you actually have to think about if you're going to get hit, I mean, it's like Resident Evil telling you when the next zombie comes up, no surprise.

Ry0n
Ry0n

have always loved the strategic elements of the Brothers In Arms series and Hell's Highway visuals look absolutely amazing but I'm kinda skeptical of the risk indicator and it's use in the game.

LetterZero
LetterZero

Don't like the risk indicator , but the rest looks good.

Mom_said_no
Mom_said_no

Oh man i cant wait to get my hands on this one.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

Waiting for more stuff. What's funny about this game is that I though it would be released around the same time as CoD3, but no, it's going to compete with MoH, since CoD4 is not WWII anymore. Anyway, since BiA plays more strategically focused, it should be refreshing, compared to the other popular shooters.

hezbollahector
hezbollahector

sounds good to me ill definitely pick this one up

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

The risk indicator is not really a great addition to the BIA series, but it is not like it is bad either. They made it clear, though, that they were trying to emulate the "feeling" of war, but I don't think the risk indicator is the answer to that.

Pete5506
Pete5506

This is going to be a good game

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Can't get enough of Germans hiding in vegetables! :P